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Late penalty costs Bulldogs in 14-12 loss to Oneida

Gene Renfro • Nov 15, 2019 at 10:42 PM

HAMPTON — A potential game-winning touchdown was flagged as Hampton suffered a 14-12 defeat against Oneida in Friday night’s second-round TSSAA Class 2A playoff meeting at J.C. Campbell Stadium.

With the outcome, which snapped Hampton’s eight-game winning streak and accounted for the team’s lone home loss of 2019, the Bulldogs’ season comes to an end at 9-3. Meanwhile Oneida (8-4) advances to next week’s quarterfinal contest at Meigs County. The Indians have won five in a row in their series with Hampton.

The potential game-winning touchdown that was called back for the Bulldogs occurred in the final two minutes of play. Conor Jones connected with Jonah Jones for what would have been a 51-yard touchdown score. However, a personal foul blind-side block at the 13-yard line was called — pushing the Bulldogs back to the 28.

Three plays later, a pass to the end zone was picked off by Jakob Hamilton with 1:15 left and returned to the 18-yard line — from where the Indians closed out the contest.

“We had so many opportunities where we got a penalty when we had first downs or had penalties when we had something going,” Hampton head coach Michael Lunsford said. “That made us do things that we didn’t really want to do, but forced into it. I thought our kids responded well and never quit. They preserved every chance they had and overcame so much adversity. They made enough plays to win it.”

Oneida did not have the ball much in the first half, but made it count. The Indians’ first offensive play saw Trace Sexton race for a 68-yard score. After a Bulldog fumble in the second quarter, Kolby Morgan recorded a 30 yard touchdown scamper. Morgan finished the evening with 21 carries for 78 yards to lead the attack.

The Bulldogs drove for a score on game’s first drive. Conor Jones finished off the 58-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback keeper on a drive that took over seven minutes. A two-point run was stopped.

Overall in the first half, Hampton gained 121 yards on 34 plays while the Indians had 11 plays add up to 129 yards — with two of those plays combining for 106. Oneida finished with 168 yards on 31 plays.

The teams traded second-half possessions before Conor Jones delivered big plays to march the Bulldogs down the field. The sophomore connected with Isiah Greenwell for a 28-yard pass, then on second-and-22, Jones raced for 25 yards inside the 10-yard line. He again capped a TD drive with a quarterback keeper from the 1.

Conor Jones led the Bulldogs with 78 rushing yards on 18 attempts. Through the air, he was 9-for-15 for 116 yards. Greenwell was the favorite target with five catches for 29 yards.

Matt Hughes closed out his prep football career with 15 carries for 65 yards. Overall, the Bulldogs covered 285 yards on 60 plays.